New Delhi: Almost all the states across the country are lagging in picking up foodgrains allocated for migrant labourers in the months of May and June.
The Modi government had, under the Pradhan Mantri Atmanirbhar Scheme, announced free foodgrains for an estimated eight crore migrant workers for two months at a cost of Rs 3,500 crore.
An official of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution on the condition of not being named told ThePrint that states have so far lifted only 25.75 per cent of the total allocation.
“Eight lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of foodgrains has been allocated for migrant labourers under PM Atmanirbhar Scheme. It consists of 2.44 LMT wheat and 5.56 LMT rice for May and June,” the official explained.
“Of the total allocation, the states and union territories have lifted only 2.06 LMT of foodgrain, which is just 25.75 per cent. These foodgrains are to be distributed free of cost to every migrant labourer during May and June but only Andaman and Nicobar, Andhra Pradesh and Lakshadweep have lifted their quota of two months as of 27 May,” the official added.
The foodgrains are meant for migrants who do not have either central or state PDS cards under the National Food Security scheme. They will get 5 kg of foodgrains per person and 1 kg of chana dal per family for the next two months.
The Modi government, however, is yet to begin allocation of the chana dal but the process is set to begin from 5 June.
States, meanwhile, have lifted 79.81 per cent of foodgrains and 57.49 per cent pulses under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKY), which was launched for ration card-holders on 26 March, in a bid to ease their food woes.
Under the scheme, 5 kg wheat or rice and 1 kg of preferred pulses for free per month were to be handed to the poor between April and June.
But the states have been lagging in distributing foodgrain and pulses under this scheme as well. As ThePrint had earlier reported, pulses promised under PMGKY for 20 crore beneficiaries had only been distributed to 18 per cent of them until 25 April, which was almost a month after the announcement of the scheme.
State blames the lack of migrant database
States are blaming the lack of a migrant database and the glut of schemes for the poor lifting of relief foodgrains.
“A survey is being carried out to ascertain the number of migrant labourers and their families before lifting of foodgrains. There is already heavy allocation under the regular National Food Security scheme and PMGKY, and now where we will keep these additional food grains?” Suresh Chand, additional food commissioner of the Rajasthan government and director, Department of Consumer Affairs, told ThePrint.
The Joint Director of Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Department of Madhya Pradesh, Harindra Singh, also cited the lack of migrant database as a reason behind the lag in the distribution of allocated foodgrain to them.
“The allocation of grains under PMGKY is almost complete for April and May but the distribution of pulses has not been completed for May yet. Allocation is done accordingly as we are getting pulses from NAFED, which is very slow,” he said.
The Central government has allocated 120.04 LMT foodgrains under PMGKY, of which 15.65 LMT of wheat and 104.4 LMT of rice is to be given to the states and union territories for April, May and June 2020. As of 27 May, the states and union territories have lifted 95.80 LMT of food grains, which is 79 per cent of the total allocation.
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